Posted Saturday, December 3, 2016
Favorite Local Traditions – and the real Santa
Camden is a festive place the first weekend of December. On Friday evening, with the shops open late and the streets aglow, horse and wagon rides will take visitors around town to see the sights. People will line the streets to watch the festive lighted floats parade through town, with Santa on the last float with the cub scouts. This is the 30th year that THIS Santa has ridden in this parade. It’s the only pre-holiday stop he and his Elf make each year. Children who whisper to him what they want for Christmas, and pose for a photo in one of the three local towns – several are children of parents who also sat on his lap a 20+ years ago. To us and to them – Santa is the real thing (whiskers too)!
A new partner in this year’s Christmas By the Sea event is the Retail Association of Maine. Participating merchants in the Shop Second Saturday program, launching in Camden in 2017, will be featured on a shop-around card. Those completing the card will be entered in a drawing to win a package to return to Camden for a special weekend on an upcoming Second Saturday.
During Christmas By the Sea weekend, community events are held throughout the community starting Friday afternoon. Special performances at the Camden Public Library kick things off. Camden’s holiday parade comes through town at 6pm, (sponsored this year by Key Bank). Santa then presides over the Community Tree Lighting in Harbor Park. Following the tree lighting, an open house at Camden National Bank draws hundreds of visitors as they mill around the sidewalks and stores.
When Saturday morning arrives, Santa comes cruising into Rockport Harbor by boat. Santa’s arrival is followed by Pictures With Santa at Rockport Marine. The next stop for Santa is the Camden Public Landing where Santa arrives on shore courtesy of Lyman Morse. Santa’s arrivals by boat define this event that truly celebrates Christmas By the Sea.
Story Hour with Santa as well as free photos are offered at the Library immediately following his arrival in Camden. Free facepainting accompanied by live music is featured all day at 25 Mechanic Street in the hallway between the Bagel Café and Manny’s and Karyl’s. Cookie decorating for kids, a new event in 2015, will again be
held at the YMCA starting at 10:30 on Saturday and will be sponsored by Lincolnville Communications.
Santa gets up to Lincolnville as well, arriving at the Beach by fire engine at 4:30. The traditional bonfire on the beach will be lit at 3pm. The event is followed by a sandwich supper and photos at Lincolnville’s School House Museum. Later in the evening, from 7-9pm, a Christmas Social takes place at the Lincolnville Community Center. Admission is free with a donation of a non-perishable item to benefit the local food pantry.
The full schedule of events can be found at www.camdenmaineexperience.com under the Events tab. Brochures listing the detailed schedule are at the downtown shops and are available at the Chamber of Commerce on the Public Landing as well as the Camden Town Office.
Organizations and churches bring even more events to this community-wide celebration during Christmas By the Sea weekend. Events include the Holly Berry Fair at the Rockport Opera House, a Beltie Holiday celebration at Aldemere Farm, a choral bell concert at the First Congregational Church, and Santa’s Story Hour at the Camden Public Library. The Nutcracker Ballet will be performed by the Atlantic Ballet Company at the Camden Opera House several times throughout the weekend. The annual Walk Through Bethlehem takes place at the Chestnut Street Baptist Church, and Ann Dodson and Friends’ holiday concert at the Congregational Church finishes up this fun-filled weekend on Sunday evening.
Those wishing to participate in the Christmas By the Sea parade should register at www.camdenmaineexperience.com under the Events tab. The meeting place for floats is at the Sierra Peaks Tibbetts parking lot on Virginia Avenue. 5:30 is the time, and the parade starts down Union Street at 6pm.
Valued sponsors of this year’s Christmas By the Sea include Camden National Bank, Key Bank, Lincolnville Communications Inc, Pen Bay Pilot, The Camden Herald, The Camden Area Business Group, Camden Printing, DS&CO, Lord Camden Inn, First National Bank, The Hawthorn Inn, Sea Dog Brewing Company, 3 Dogs Cafe, Uncle Willy's Candy Shoppe, The Red Barn Baking Co., and Hannaford Supermarkets. The Town of Camden's event partner is the Camden Public Library.
Stay abreast of all the weekend’s events at the Christmas By the Sea Camden Maine Facebook page, www.facebook.com/christmas.by.the.sea.camden.maine. Check out all the news and pictures on Facebook and at #christmasbythesea as Santa makes his rounds and prepares to come to Camden!